I've previously blogged on using Wordle to generate family name clouds - the first a surname cloud of non-living people in my database, the second a cloud of first names of the non-living. Tonight while reading the Flowing Data blog, I read about a new word cloud service, Tagxedo.
What's different about Tagxedo is that you can create your word clouds in shapes. So I hopped over to see if I could generate a word cloud in the shape of a tree, or something to highlight my genealogy.
I used the same process as in my two previous posts to generate the file. I then copied the text into Tagxedo. At first glance, Tagxedo seems to have a wide array of design options - color palettes, fonts, shapes, word orientation (horizontal, vertical, any which way) - as well as some more advanced features using color saturation. My settings are pretty basic - a tree using a color palette with a nature orientation, my choice of font, and selection of the horizontal word orientation.
According to the site FAQ, some Tagxedo features are open for free during the beta period which will then be locked down to premium account (i.e., non-free) users. I didn't see a way to create an account to save my cloud to a profile, so was hesitant to overly experiment with some of the options for saving clouds. I was able to download the cloud as JPG file directly from Tagxedo and could select from a wide variety of file sizes. Tagxedo also offered options for embedding content or printing.
I'll be interested to see how this service develops, and particularly what features remain free and which will switch to a premium account. I have fun playing with word clouds, but don't use them enough to warrant paying for the service. Wordle more than does the job for me at present, but I enjoyed playing with the shape option here to highlight the "family tree" aspect of my cloud.